Iman Shumpert interview after Knicks and coach Mike D'Antoni parted ways
The New York Knicks and head coach Mike D'Antoni parted ways today. InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner and some other reporters managed to speak to Knicks rookie guard Iman Shumpert before tonight's game in Madison Square Garden against the Portland Trail Blazers. Shumpert was one of the only players on the team willing to speak to media before tipoff. Here's what he had to say to InsideHoops and some other outlets about 90 minutes before tonight's game:
Question: What do you think of the news of coach Mike D'Antoni being gone?
Iman Shumpert: It's a surprise to us, especially after shootaround this morning. It's something we got to deal with. Coach Woody is a great coach. We're just going to follow in his direction and try and win these games.
Question: Were you surprised?
Shumpert: Yeah, definitely.
Question: What do you think led to this?
Shumpert: Obviously we just weren't winning. Plain and simple.
Question: Do you think it's unfair sometimes that coaches take the fall when teams aren't winning?
Shumpert: I'm not here to say what's fair and unfair. I just know what we got to deal with tonight. We got to go out here and win this game.
Question: What's the last thing you remember coach D'Antoni saying to you earlier today?
Shumpert: This morning, it was "see you tonight." Like I said, it was a shock to us.
Question: What did Mike Woodson say when he addressed you guys?
Shumpert: Same thing, just, you know everything going on right now, everything's a zoo, we're going to lock in, we're going to win games.
Question: What's it going to take for the team to turn it around?
Shumpert: Just go to buy in, on both ends. As long as we play hard, and we go 100 percent the whole game, we're going to put ourselves in positions to win. We've got the personnel to do it.
Question: Does the coaching change make the difference?
Shumpert: I truly think it's just up to us in this locker room, to give 100 percent effort every night, that's all a coach can ask for, out of us. And as long as we do that every night, we're going to put ourselves in positions to win. That's where coaching comes in.
Question: So what was the expectation earlier today, at shootaround?
Shumpert: We thought D'Antoni was coaching.
Question: How did you get the news?
Shumpert: I had a bunch of text messages and everything, that said we had a 5 o'clock meeting. So I came here.
Question: Do you think D'Antoni still had everyone's full attention?
Shumpert: We're all supportive of what coach wants us to do. We're all trying to go out there and perform the way our head coach tells us to. Which would be the same way we're going to do when coach Woodson steps in. We're just trying to win basketball games. I think it looked a lot worse because we're all competitive, and we all want to win. During that 6-game skid, our body language was bad as a team. And I think we just go to win games.
Question: What does this teach you about life in the NBA? Losing your first coach in this league.
Shumpert: It's just a business. That's the business part of everything. I knew when I got my first cheque there was going to be a business side to it. I'm just seeing a little bit of that now. And like I said, I'm just locking in for this game tonight.